MINNEAPOLIS - Seimone Augustus scored 21 points and the Minnesota Lynx took advantage of the depleted Seattle Storm to win 95-74 on Tuesday night.
The Storm, without leading scorer and rebounder Lauren Jackson and second-leading rebounder Janell Burse, lost for the fourth time in five games. Jackson is in Australia to be with an ill family member while Burse sat out with damaged ligaments in her left wrist.
"This is the first time all year that we've caught a break with the star player on the other team being injured or not playing for personal reasons," Minnesota coach Don Zierden said. "Teams have a tendency to let down. When Lauren has not played in the past I've seen them win or play very close games. So it was important for our young players to understand ... they've got a lot of talent. I was pleased we were able to do that."
Betty Lennox led three Seattle scorers in double figures with 16 points.
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The Lynx snapped a two-game losing streak and won for just the third time in their last 15 games.
Minnesota led by 10 at halftime, but Zierden thought it should have been more. He challenged Augustus and Svetlana Abrosimova to play with more energy more energy in the third frame. The two delivered, and then some.
Minnesota scored a franchise-record 37 points in the quarter with Abrosimova scoring 16 of her 20 points in the period. Her 3-pointer with 1:14 to play in the third extended the lead to a game-high 28 points, and the Lynx shot 66.7 percent as a team during the frame.
"I couldn't get in the flow last game or the first half of this one," Abrosimova said. "He asked me specifically if I could bring us energy. As soon as we started getting that we just got on a run and it was fun after that."
Monarchs 81, Sun 79
At Uncasville, Conn., Kara Lawson scored 21 points and Sacramento clinched a playoff spot with a win over Connecticut.
The Monarchs (17-11) led by seven with just over 2:00 to play, and held off a charge that was sparked by a technical foul and the ejection of a player's husband from the stands.
The Sun's Asjha Jones got the technical, slamming the ball to the court after a jump ball was called with 2:04 left and the Monarchs up 77-71.
Lawson hit the foul shot to give Sacramento a seven-point lead.
Katie Douglas watched her husband, Vasilis Giapalakis, get escorted from the arena after the play for comments he directed at the referees from the stands.
Lindsay Whalen and Jones had 17 each to lead the Sun (16-13), who had won four straight and 10-of-11 coming into the game.
Mercury 96, Sparks 93
At Los Angeles, Penny Taylor scored 23 points and made two free throws with 11 seconds to play to give Phoenix a victory over Los Angeles.
Diana Taurasi added 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the Mercury (19-11), which moved into first place in the WNBA's Western Conference by one game over San Antonio.
Kiesha Brown scored a career-high 18 points for the Sparks (9-19), who have lost four of five and 16 of 20.
Mystics 77, Silver Stars 73
At San Antonio, Alana Beard scored 19 points and Nakia Sanford added 18 to help Washington improve its playoff chances with its third straight win.
Monique Currie also scored 10 for Washington (13-15) and Sanford added nine rebounds.
The Mystics lost Nikki Teasley to a sprained left knee 7:33 into the game. Teasley, the team's assists leader, was carried from the floor and rode a wheelchair to the dressing room after injuring the knee while guarding Shanna Crossley on a fast break.
San Antonio (17-11) clinched a playoff spot in the West last week but fell a half game behind Phoenix for the conference lead.
Liberty 77, Comets 71
At Houston, Loree Moore and Janel McCarville each scored 17 points New York snap a four-game road losing streak.
Jessica Davenport added 13 points for the Liberty (12-16), who avenged a home loss to the Comets on July 20 and won away from Madison Square Garden for the first time since July 6 at Detroit.
Tina Thompson scored a game-high 24 points and Hamchetou Maiga-Ba added 16 for the Comets (10-19), who missed a chance to pick up a game in the standings against the Seattle Storm.
Houston trails the Storm by 3 1/2 games for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Fever 75, Sky 70 (2 OT)
At Chicago, Anna DeForge had 16 points as Indiana beat Chicago in double overtime.
Tamika Whitmore scored 15, Tully Bevilaqua had 13 and Tan White had 11 for Indiana (19-11), which has won three of four after losing its previous six.
Tammy Sutton-Brown added 10 points and four blocks for the Fever, who clinched a playoff spot with a 63-55 win over Sacramento on Sunday and hold a 2 1/2 - game lead over Connecticut for second place in the Eastern Conference.
Chasity Melvin had a season-high 26 points and 10 rebounds, Dominique Canty added 11 points, and Stacey Dales and Armintie Price each added 10 for the Sky (12-18), who dropped their fourth straight to fall two games behind fourth place Washington for the final playoff spot in the East.
Chicago leading scorer Candice Dupree had a career-high 20 rebounds but tied a season-low with four points on 2-of-14 shooting.